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In this story from 1958, the singer and actress shares how faith helped her cope with her career and busy life with husband Roy Rogers and their kids.
The front door slammed as Cheryl ran for the high-school bus. “Three children off,” I made a mental note. “Four to go.”
In the bedroom I had finished the first braid in Dodie’s hair and was reaching for the rubber band when a shriek from the bathroom sent me running there. Debbie had cut her lip against the washstand.
I was still dabbing with a wad of cotton when Sandy appeared in the doorway in his pajama pants.
“Mama, make Dusty stop throwing my socks!” he demanded.
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“Dale!” This was Roy from our bedroom. “The recording session’s at ten, you know!”
I dashed for the kitchen and started cracking eggs into a bowl. “After the kids are off, I’ll just have time to get that laundry sorted,” I promised myself. For two days my washing machine had been out of order and the soiled-clothes heap was now a mountain.
The phone rang and I jerked the skillet of eggs off the fire.
“Mrs. Rogers?” The lady’s voice was apologetic. “Could you and Mr. Rogers be at the studio at nine instead of ten this morning?” An especially hectic beginning to a day? No—just a very average morning at the Rogers’ house.
If you have children and a busy husband, it probably sounds a little like mornings at your house, too. And not only the mornings, but all day long the noise and the rush and the thousand little crises go on.
Most of us can rise to the really big emergencies; the problem we mothers share is how to get through a normal day.
And actually, I sometimes think my day is easier than other mothers’. I do have Mrs. Ordono to get most of our meals and to be with the children while I’m working. And a lady comes in to do the laundry.
People ask me how I manage to raise a family and at the same time keep up with the fast pace of Hollywood. I tell them the pace of Hollywood is a vacation after the pace of a home with seven children in it.
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I’ll never forget one perfectly run-of-the-mill Saturday when Mrs. Ordono was away for the weekend and the children had been yelling since dawn. If I can’t get off by myself for a moment, I thought, I’m going to be yelling too. I needed to sit down, compose myself, and ask God for a little patience.
But to talk to God, I believed, you needed silence—and there certainly wasn’t any of that in the house.
So I ducked a small plastic plane that was sailing through the air and headed for the big rocks in back of the barn. And there, I tried to concentrate on a prayer for strength.
But all I could think about was the children. Why didn’t Linda finish her lunch? Should I have left the boys alone with that rope? What was Dodie getting into? ...
“It’s no use,” I said aloud. Prayer wouldn’t come and I walked slowly back to the mayhem in the house with the feeling that not even God had any help for mothers.
I felt the same sense of failure when I tried to read the Bible. I had the feeling that Bible reading had to be a thing set apart. So I put aside a special time for it: half an hour first thing in the morning.